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    Building Expert News and Information
    For Calais Maine

    Coverage Under Builder's Risk Policy Properly Excluded for Damage to Existing Structure Only

    Another Guilty Plea in Las Vegas HOA Scandal

    Does the Implied Warranty of Habitability Extend to Subsequent Purchasers? Depends on the State

    How to Determine the Deadline for Recording a California Mechanics Lien

    Ensuring Arbitration in Construction Defect Claims

    Condo Owners Suing Bank for Failing to Disclose Defects

    Michigan: Identifying and Exploiting the "Queen Exception" to No-Fault Subrogation

    Residential Contractors, Be Sure to Have these Clauses in Your Contracts

    New York Developer gets Reprieve in Leasehold Battle

    New Zealand Using Plywood Banned Elsewhere

    Battle of Experts Cannot Be Decided on Summary Judgment

    GAO Sustains Unsupported Past Performance Evaluation and Unequal Discussion Bid Protest

    Design Professional Needs a License to be Sued for Professional Negligence

    Defective Stairways can be considered a Patent Construction Defect in California

    Mitsubishi Estate to Rebuild Apartments After Defects Found

    High Attendance Predicted for West Coast Casualty Seminar

    New York’s Highest Court Reverses Lower Court Ruling That Imposed Erroneous Timeliness Requirement For Disclaimers of Coverage

    Court Rules that Collapse Coverage for Damage Caused “Only By” Specified Perils Violates Efficient Proximate Cause Rule and is Unenforceable

    Construction Spending Highest Since April 2009

    The Riskiest Housing Markets in the U.S.

    Florida Law: Interplay of SIR and the Made-Whole Doctrine

    Significant Issues Test Applies to Fraudulent Claims to Determine Attorney’s Fees

    Be Wary of Construction Defects when Joining a Community Association

    Sales of New Homes in U.S. Increased 5.4% in July to 507,000

    What Buyers Want in a Green Home—and What They Don’t

    U.S., Canada, Mexico Set New Joint Clean-Energy Goal

    WCC and BHA Raised Thousands for Children’s Cancer Research at 25th West Coast Casualty CD Seminar

    URGENT: 'Catching Some Hell': Hurricane Michael Slams Into Florida

    No Coverage For Construction Defects Under Alabama Law

    Weyerhaeuser Leaving Home Building Business

    Do Engineers Owe a Duty to Third Parties?

    What To Do When the Government is Slow to Decide a Claim?

    Supplement to New California Construction Laws for 2019

    Washington Court Limits Lien Rights of Construction Managers

    Fannie-Freddie Elimination Model in Apartments: Mortgages

    Good Ole Duty to Defend

    Statutory Bad Faith and an Insured’s 60 Day Notice to Cure

    Exact Dates Not Needed for Construction Defect Insurance Claim

    General Contractor’s Intentionally False Certifications Bar It From Any Recovery From Owner

    Highest Building Levels in Six Years in Southeast Michigan

    A Compilation of Quirky Insurance Claims

    Preserving Your Construction Claim

    Property Damage, Occurrences, Delays, Offsets and Fees. California Decision is a Smorgasbord of Construction Insurance Issues

    Open & Known Hazards Under the Kinsman Exception to Privette

    Prime Contractor & Surety’s Recovery of Attorney’s Fees in Miller Act Lawsuit

    Pennsylvania “occurrence”

    Million-Dollar Home Sales Thrive While Low End Stumbles

    Court Strikes Down Reasonable Construction Defect Settlement

    Expired Contract Not Revived Due to Sovereign Immunity and the Ex Contractu Clause

    Jinx: Third Circuit Rules in Favor of Teamsters in Withdrawal Case
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    Building Expert News & Info
    Calais, Maine

    Formaldehyde-Free Products for Homes

    March 05, 2015 —
    Builder Magazine reported that builders are “making indoor air quality a major concern,” including choosing healthier, formaldehyde-free products. Builder explained the problems with certain chemicals: “Formaldehyde and other VOCs, most frequently found in wood products, finishes, and paints, have been chief among the pollutants targeted for potentially dangerous health effects, such as respiratory issues and irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.” Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    Ivanhoe Cambridge Plans Toronto Office Towers, Terminal

    October 01, 2014 —
    Ivanhoe Cambridge, the real estate arm of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, plans to build a C$2-billion ($1.8 billion) officer tower and bus terminal complex in Toronto’s financial district in partnership with regional transport authority Metrolinx. Construction is expected to begin as early as spring 2015, with a new GO bus terminal set to open three years later, the parties said in a joint statement. “We want this project to be iconic for Toronto through inspired design and intelligent integration of public transit with green spaces,” Daniel Fournier, chief executive officer of Montreal-based Ivanhoe Cambridge, said in the statement. The total cost of the complex is expected to be C$2 billion, Fournier said at a press conference in Toronto. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Scott Deveau and Katia Dmitrieva, Bloomberg
    Mr. Deveau may be contacted at

    Considerations in Obtaining a Mechanic’s Lien in Maryland (Don’t try this at home)

    February 23, 2016 —
    For this week’s Guest Post Friday at Construction Law Musings I welcome Matthew Evans. Matt is the owner of Law Offices of Matthew S. Evans, III, LLC located in Annapolis, Maryland. He has practiced construction, real estate and land use law in Maryland and D.C. for thirteen years. Prior to opening his own firm in May 2011, Mr. Evans was a partner at a mid-sized firm in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Mr. Evans lives in Historic Annapolis (only three short blocks from his office) with his wife Margaret, and three children, Matthew (5), Bo (4) and Peyton (2). Some of the most common calls I get are from irate contractor or subcontractor clients who have not been paid demanding that I “lien the property”. Many times after calming the client down, I determine, to their dismay, that they are not entitled to a mechanic’s lien. In Maryland, the mechanic’s lien law is driven by statute, which contains specific requirements which must be met before the client is entitled to a lien. The first question is whether the contractor or subcontractor is entitled to a lien for the work performed. Under Maryland law, “every building erected and every building repaired, rebuilt, or improved to the extent of 15 percent of its value is subject to establishment of a lien…for the payment of all debts.” It’s easy when dealing with new construction. No matter how small your portion of the work, the property is subject to the establishment of a lien. It is more difficult to determine entitlement when there is either a total or partial renovation or other work. The question becomes how do you determine the value of the building, and whether it has been improved “to the extent of 15 percent of its value.” Believe me, I have seen creative and some not so creative methods of calculation used by counsel to prove that certain work does or does not meet the requirement. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Christopher G. Hill, Law Office of Christopher G. Hill, PC
    Mr. Hill may be contacted at

    Prevailing HOAs Not Entitled to Attorneys’ Fees in Enforcement Actions Brought Under Davis-Stirling

    August 30, 2017 —
    In Retzloff v. Moulton Parkway Residents’ Ass’n, (2017) Cal. App. LEXIS 727, the Fourth District Court of Appeal considered the novel question of whether attorneys’ fees can be included as part of the cost award to a ‘prevailing association’ under Cal. Civ. Code §5235(c). Plaintiffs were former board members of Moulton Parkway Residents’ Association, No. One (“the Association”) who sued the Association for alleged violations of the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (Civ. Code §4000 et. seq.) which regulates the governance of common interest developments such as condominium communities and homeowners associations. Plaintiffs’ suit alleged that the Association regularly conducted business outside of scheduled board meetings and failed to make certain records available for inspection. Reprinted courtesy of Lawrence S. Zucker II, Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP and Michael C. Parme, Haight Brown & Bonesteel LLP Mr. Zucker may be contacted at Mr. Parme may be contacted at Read the court decision
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    Trial Date Discussed for Las Vegas HOA Takeover Case

    February 04, 2014 —
    Jeff German of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Justice Department attorneys filed papers January 28th demanding the trial involving 11 defendants charged in a scheme to take over the Las Vegas Valley homeowners associations to be held no later than September 2nd. The prosecutors claimed “they have gone out of their way to ease the burden on the defense as they have turned over mountains of evidence in the past year.” However, the defense attorneys allege that they need “at least a year and likely more time” to go through the “more than 3 million pages of documents” and to create a trial strategy, according to German. The defense “asked for an initial late January 2015 trial date.” The case involves charges against “lawyers, former police officers and corrupt board members” for “packing HOA boards to gain legal and construction defect contracts for themselves.” Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    Agrihoods: The Best of Both Worlds

    July 23, 2014 —
    Smithsonian Magazine reported on a new U.S. trend of blending farms and housing developments: The concept is called Development Supported Agriculture (DSA), or more commonly known as “Agrihoods.” In a DSA, “consumers pledge money or resources to support a farm operation, and in turn, receive a share of what it produces, but take the concept one step further by integrating the farm within residential developments.” Residents receive similar perks of being a part of a home owner association such as supported pools, tennis courts, and playgrounds through their contribution to the farm. The first DSA, Prairie Crossing, was built in Grayslake, Illinois to preserve land while adding about 350 residential homes. Willowsford, a new DSA being built in Ashburn Virginia, will have over 2,000 homes. Willowsford’s developers have preserved 2,000 acres, with 300 acres of farmland. The development will be broken into four villages, and each will have its own farm. Part of the popularity of DSAs is that they may “require less of an investment than other green space communities—for instance, communities planned around golf courses,” according to Smithsonian Magazine. “What does it cost to leave the open space alone in the first place? Almost nothing,” said Ed McMahon, the Charles E. Fraser chair on sustainable development and environmental policy at the Urban Land Institute, as quoted by Smithsonian Magazine. “A light bulb went off in the mind of savvy developers who said, ‘Jeez, I can build a golf course development without the golf course.’ So that led to designing communities around other green-space amenities such as a farm.” Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of

    Housing in U.S. Cools as Rate Rise Hits Sales: Mortgages

    April 28, 2014 —
    After a roller-coaster decade of boom-bust-boom, the U.S. housing market is going downhill just when many economists thought annual sales would be heading up. Sales of previously owned properties in March tumbled 7.5 percent from a year earlier to the slowest pace in 20 months, while purchases of new houses sank 14.5 percent from February, according to reports this week. Mortgage applications to buy homes plunged 19 percent from a year earlier, indicating slowing demand during what is typically the busiest season for deals. The housing market’s underlying fragility is emerging as outside influences that fueled a two-year rebound are receding. Mortgage interest rates are rising from record lows as the central bank withdraws its stimulus, and investors, who had helped drive national prices up more than 20 percent as they went on a buying spree, are now retreating. Mr. Gittelsohn may be contacted at; Mr. Gopal may be contacted at Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of John Gittelsohn and Prashant Gopal, Bloomberg

    Beware of Statutory Limits on Change Orders

    February 18, 2015 —
    While change orders are always part of construction projects, it’s important to know whether a public agency is limited on how much it can increase the scope of the work through change orders. A contractor in Virginia found out the hard way that the state agency did not have the authority to increase the scope of the project and thus the contractor could not collect for the extra work. In Carnell Construction Corp. v. Danville Redevelopment & Housing Authority, the contractor was hired by the housing authority to prepare a site for construction. The project did not go well and both sides blamed the other for delays and increased costs. After being removed from the project, the contractor sued the housing authority for, among other things, breach of contract. The jury awarded the contractor a total of $915,000 for the housing authority’s failure to pay for extra work and improper removal. Read the court decision
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    Reprinted courtesy of Craig Martin, Lamson, Dugan and Murray, LLP
    Mr. Martin may be contacted at